School opens new shop to boost special needs students’ work experiences - The Rugby Observer

School opens new shop to boost special needs students’ work experiences

Andy Morris 17th Jan, 2018   0

STUDENTS with learning difficulties are learning life skills in the community thanks to a new town centre shop opened by Brooke School.

The special needs school has opened its own community shop, Buy it 34, in Regent Street, where 17 students are already working weekly shifts.

Former England rugby player Tim Stimpson cut the ribbon on the store, where students get valuable work experience as they perform roles include sorting and pricing stock, and serving customers.

The shop is the next phase of the school’s work experience programme, which started three years ago and sees students build up their skills to eventually work in cafes and charity shops around Rugby.




Work placement coordinator Kath Prentice said: “We started the scheme so students could get real life skills and be out in the community more, and pick up all the associated skills which come with that like travel training, meeting the public and interacting with the community.”

She said many businesses, church groups, community groups and individuals had donated time and items to make the new shop possible.


Rugby’s Gap warehouse donated boxes of brand new gifts for sale in the shop, while staff helped to decorate and set up the store.

Elite Workwear donated polo shirts and tabards for the students to wear while working. “The students have chosen the colour scheme and are very excited about being able to look really professional,” said Kath.

“I have no budget to do work on the shop, but eight people came and gave up a day in the Christmas holidays and did lots of the work that was needed,” she added.

“It’s been particularly wonderful to see how much members of the community have enjoyed supporting us, donating items to us, and working alongside the students. We would like to thank everyone – this project would not have been possible without you.”

The shop sells items hand made by the students, new stock donated by business supporters, and second hand items.

Kath said: “The aim is that within a year or two the shop will be self-sufficient. Money will then go back into the school and the PTA, and it will be for the benefit of the pupils.”

Buy it 34 will initially be open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9.15am-2.15pm. Opening hours will be extended over the coming months. Search Facebook for ‘Buy it 34’ for the latest on opening times, student activities and new stock.

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